Fate Of Oedipus Essay, Research Paper
Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus is a tragic play that discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. In Greek mythology, oracles or gods are rarely wrong in their predictions of the future. Yet Oedipus still tries to fight the predictions. Is Oedipus’ downfall due to an error in judgement or his lack of control over his destiny? I believe that Oedipus never really has any control over his destiny. Oedipus is a shrewd man furnished with wit and intellect. But none of these traits could help him change his predetermined destiny. His tragic destiny had already been determined before he was born. His every intention only brings him closer to his downfall.
Oedipus’ tragic destiny started when he was born. From the day he was born, Oedipus could not choose how he wants to live. He can only live the life that was set up for him. An oracle told his real parents – Laius and Jocasta that Laius would die at the hands of his own child. Out of fear, they pinned Oedipus’ ankles and handed him to a shepherd to abandon him to death. ” Jocasta: An oracle came to Laius ” (p. 17) to ” to cast upon a deserted mountain path – die.”(p. 17). But instead of killing the infant, the shepherd gave him to another shepherd who then gave Oedipus to the King Polybus of Corinth. So this poor child survived to continue his tragic destiny.
As Oedipus grows up, he becomes a self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed person. That is the kind of role that is cost for him by destiny. A drunken stranger tells him that he is not the son of King Polybus. His strong will drives him to ask an oracle about his parents. The oracle does not answer his question, but tells him that he would kill his father whom Oedipus believes to be King Polybus and marry his mother. In the fear of these events taking place, he leaves his home. “Oedipus: my father was Polybus of Corinth ” (p. 18) to ” where I could never see that infamous prophecy fulfilled.” (p.19). And his fate becomes reality.
Instead of escaping from the prophecy’s prediction Oedipus runs right into his fate. On a road leading to Thebes he kills his real father King Laius – in a quarrel. But Oedipus does not realize that he has killed his real father – King Laius. “Oedipus: And as I traveled,” to ” I killed them all.” (P.19). Oedipus has no control over his fate that leads him to the road where he kills his father. Oedipus led by fate, reaches Thebes. The city of Thebes was then tormented by the mythological monster – the Sphinx. Only Oedipus was able to solve the riddle. He uses his intelligence to defeats the Sphinx, and saves Thebes. Then he fulfills his tragic fate. He becomes the king of Thebes, and marries his mother – Jocasta. If there was no Sphinx or Oedipus failed to solve the riddle, his fate would be totally different. Even though he kills his own father, he would never become the King of Thebes and marry his own mother. But his destiny sets up all of these for him; Oedipus has no control over his destiny.
Not for long after Oedipus rules Thebes, the city of Thebes is menaced by the death. The Theban people come and ask for Oedipus’ help. ” Priest: My lord and King,” (P.3) to ” no ship can justify its claim to strength if it is stripped of men who give it life.”(p. 4). The oracle from Apollo’s shrine tells Oedipus that he must find the murderer of King Laius and banish him from Thebes. Because of his self-confidence and strong will, Oedipus is anxious to banish the murderer from Thebes and save Thebes again. “Oedipus: Then I- I shall begin again.” to ” we shall find success- or ruin.” (P.5). This brings Oedipus closer to his final destiny. Then, Chorus tells him that the blind prophet – Teiresias would know the truth. Oedipus turns to Teiresias for help. Teiresias tries to spare him from this sorrowful reality, but Oedipus foolishly pushes the prophet to reveal the truth. ” Oedipus: Teiresias, all thing are known to you” (P.9) to ” Oedipus: I would make you suffer the pain which you deserve for your audacity.” (p.11). Oedipus does not believe Teiresias’ message. Queen Jocasta warns and asks him to let it go. It seems to be the end of his searching for the murderer of King Laius.
But Oedipus would never be spared by his destiny; it sends another man to Thebes. He is the shepherd who gives Oedipus to King Polybus. He comes and announces Oedipus that King Polybus died, and tells him that he is not the son of Polybus. And he tells Oedipus about the shepherd who gave Oedipus to him. Oedipus calls the shepherd and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. ” Oedipus: Save your reproaches,” (p.26) to ” Oedipus: Sin in blood!” (p.27). His destiny has finally brought him his downfall and blindness.
Oedipus, like many other ancient Greek characters, is destined to fail before he is born. Uncontrollable fate is a fact in the play. Every intention Oedipus tries to escape from his destiny could only bring him his downfall. Oedipus has no control over his destiny and his life is a blue print sketched by gods.